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GTM rolls out Testing for Travellers

Global Travel Management has announced the roll-out of two Covid-19 testing services for customers planning international travel.

GTM has relationships with two suppliers, Confirm Testing and DiamondAir. Both organisations can test passengers pre-flight and provide negative test certificates by email, paving the way for unhindered progress through the airport and on to their destination country.

Scott Pawley, managing director of GTM said

There is a growing list of business destinations that require a negative test certificate from UK-based travellers. So we are pleased to have put together testing programmes from two industry leaders, so that our customers can get tested and can receive certificates prior to travel.

Any customer can now choose the most convenient method, suiting their requirements. Tests can be carried out at home, at Heathrow Airport, or in specific locations in London.

We can even arrange a hotel stay prior to departure, so customers can receive take the test a day prior to their fight, relax in the hotel overnight before receiving their negative certificate the following day and transfer quickly and easily to the airport.

GTM customers will have a choice of supplier to administer and carry out their testing. The two programmes work as follows:

Confirm Testing

The customer orders a test to be sent to their home address at least five days prior to departure by Royal Mail Tracked 24 hour delivery. The test can be stored at home until it is required. The customer follows the test instructions, takes the test sample and returns it using the Royal Mail Tracked 24 hour label and packaging, putting them into a designated priority post box.

The test sample is analysed and results provided to the customer in time for the flight.

DiamondAir

The customer is tested in person, choosing to be tested either at Heathrow Airport or at one of Diamond Air’s London facilities in Mayfair or Enfield. The result of the PCR swab test is provided within 4-24 hours.

Customers can choose from several levels of service, including:

  • Test – this is a straightforward test, with results emailed to the customer
  • Test and rest – this comprises a test and overnight hotel accommodation
  • Test and destress – a test, plus departure/arrival meet and assist service including car transfer to/from the test clinic/airport

Paul Baker explained the service further

Testing for Covid-19 is mandatory for a growing number of countries. So we have negotiated a discount for GTM customers with these providers, meaning that, not only will they get a fully professional, secure testing process, they will get it at a discounted rate.

Some countries demand that the test certificate is produced within a short time-frame of their planned arrival in the country. So our teams of travel consultants can help passengers decide which testing service best meets their needs.


If you are planning to travel on business to a country that requires a negative test, contact your GTM Account Manager.

Finnair is offering free Covid-19 insurance cover

Finnish airline Finnair has announced it is offering complimentary Covid-19 insurance cover for customers departing from Finland.

Finnair Corona Cover provides extra protection and security for customers for all existing and new bookings, for travel departures between 3 November, 2020 and 31 March, 2021.

The insurance cover comes complimentary with all Finnair tickets booked through Finnair sales channels – including Finnair.com, the Finnair mobile app or via the airline’s customer service – for international travel originating from Finland.

It means any customer who falls ill with coronavirus in their destination can claim for any coronavirus-related medical and quarantine expenses incurred in their destination. The cover supplements travellers’ own travel insurance.

Tiina Tissari, Finnair Vice President, Customer Experience and Products, said:

It is important that Finnair customers feel they can travel safely as we recognise that travelling during the pandemic comes with new kinds of concerns and challenges.

To meet the needs of our customers during the COVID-19 outbreak, Finnair has introduced its complimentary Finnair Corona Cover.

Now Finnair customers can enjoy the peace of mind and additional security which comes from Finnair Corona Cover, including cover for medical and quarantine expenses should those insured with us become sick with coronavirus while travelling.”

Finnair Corona Cover includes the following expenses for customers in their destination:

  • Covid-19 related medical expenses and medical repatriation up to €50,000, e.g. for a hospital stay or doctor visits
  • The price of a coronavirus test, if the result is positive
  • Additional quarantine costs, resulting from falling ill with coronavirus, up to €100 for a maximum of 14 days, which could cover additional overnight accommodation
  • A new return flight back to Finland, if the original flight is missed due to illness related to coronavirus.

The cover is valid in all foreign destinations, with no excess fees.

As well as including Finnair Corona Cover with all Finnair tickets booked from Finland, the cover is included also in Aurinkomatkat package trips and Finnair Holidays bookings, when the destination is outside Finland.

Customers are advised always to contact Finnair’s insurance partner for a consultation and approval for any medical or other expenses, before using local services. Expenses will be settled directly with local service providers, provided each customer first contacts and is given approval from the insurance partner. This prevents customers from having to pay for the services themselves or carry any risk for the costs.

The service is provided to Finnair customers, 24/7, with English-speaking customer service agents on hand to provide assistance.

For more information and advice on Covid-19 insurance contact your GTM Account Manager. T

British Airways demonstrates Covid-19 safety at the airport and on board

British Airways has released a video highlighting the measures introduced at the airport and onboard to keep customers safe during the pandemic.

In the video Head of Global Sales Mark Muren interviews Dr Mike Harrigan, British Airways’ medical lead, on the measures in place including:

  • Asking customers to check-in online, download their boarding pass and where possible self-scan their boarding passes at the departure gate
  • Requiring customers to wear a facemask at all times and bringing enough to replace them every four hours for longer flights
  • Social distancing markers and hand sanitiser stations placed throughout airports
  • New ordering system in lounges to reduce contact
  • Cabin crew wearing PPE and a new food service, which reduces the number of interactions required with customers
  • Providing customers with a personal protection pack including a sealable disposal bag, hand sanitising gel and an antibacterial wipe.
  • Enhanced cleaning measures and HEPA filters

They also discuss the latest research from IATA which showed that since the start of 2020 there have been just 44 cases of COVID-19 reported in which transmission is thought to have been associated with a flight (that includes confirmed, probable and potential cases). Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled, which is just one case for every 27 million travellers.

If you have any questions about Covid-19 safety at airports or on board, or if you simply want to discuss your plans for your next British Airways flight, please contact your GTM Account Manager.

Delta Air Lines selects UK-based company to develop its disinfection protocols

Delta Air Lines is partnering with UK-based Reckitt Benkiser to drive greater confidence in travel by “innovating cleaner, more hygienic experiences for customers and employees, alike“.

The partnership will pair Delta’s strength in safety and operational rigour with Lysol’s 130 years of germ-kill expertise and innovation to continue improving upon Delta CareStandard protocols launched during the Covid-19 pandemic across Delta airport locations and on board the airline’s aircraft.

Keeping surfaces clean is one of the areas the Delta CareStandard focuses on, along with giving travellers more space, cleaner air and providing safety and personal care from check-in to baggage claim, and every point in between.

The US Environmental Protection Agency recently approved both Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes among the first to test effective against Covid-19 when used as directed on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer said:

There’s no finish line for cleanliness – there’s always more we can do to innovate and elevate our already-high standards because that’s what our customers and employees expect and deserve.

The experts at Lysol share our drive for innovative, continuous improvement – they’re the best at their craft. That’s why we’re excited to get started on R&D to target germ ‘hot spots’ and cement the Delta CareStandard as the industry gold standard – so customers feel confident in choosing Delta as more people return to travel.


Rahul Kadyan, Lysol EVP, North America said:

Our collaboration with Delta is exciting because they have clearly demonstrated great leadership, care and commitment to cleanliness and innovation across their customer and employee touchpoints. Our shared vision to create breakthrough solutions within our industries, while bolstering current disinfection protocols will support Delta customers in feeling confident when they travel.

At Lysol, we’re committed to offering products and providing germ-kill expertise as defined by our purpose, which is to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world.

Berkshire based Reckitt Benkiser is a £50bn, Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company, developing health, hygiene and home products. It produces some of the world’s most-trusted, well-loved brands, like Lysol, Dettol, Cillit Bang, Finish, Harpic and Nurofen. The company is donating more than £500,000 to Berkshire Community Foundation to support charities and voluntary groups which provide access to essential services such as tackling food poverty, providing mental health support, and caring for the elderly and infirm in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Delta also recently announced a collaboration with Mayo Clinic to provide additional Covid-19 infection prevention and control measures for travellers and employees, including guidance on an employee Covid-19 testing programme. This will ensure ensuring that virtually all Delta employees will be tested in just a matter of weeks via onsite and at-home testing.

If you want to experience Delta Air Line’s customer experience on your next trip, contact your GTM Account Manager.

GTM gains real-time access to the latest Covid-19 travel restrictions

Global Travel Management has announced that it has integrated a global Covid-19 restriction tracker service for use by its travel consultants when clients need to know the latest pandemic information on any country in the world, in preparation for business trips.

GTM travel consultants have real-time access to every country’s travel restrictions, policies and safety measures, updated constantly

GTM is one of the first travel management companies in the world to integrate the Travelport Covid-19 plugin, which provides access to information on government restrictions, lockdowns, and safety measures across the globe.

This means that GTM travel consultants can easily access critical information at the planning stages of any business trip.

Scott Pawley, managing director of GTM explained:

With the Travelport Covid-19 plugin, we can provide reliable, sourced information to clients on the destinations they’re planning to travel to or through, without leaving the workflow. In this way, we’re able to continue providing a top-class service to clients who can confidently make travel choices and book flights.


The plugin is powered by Safeture, the Swedish global employee safety platform provider. You can see the Safeture data, presented as a global map, on the GTM website homepage, here:
https://gtm.uk.com/.

With this plugin, GTM travel consultants can access country-level lockdown indicators, government restrictions and quarantine measures in place.

Contact your GTM Account Manager if you need further information on Covid-19 travel restrictions in any country in the world.

Quarantine lifted, air bridges introduced and Foreign Office travel warnings changed

Update – Friday 3 July

Passengers returning or visiting from certain destinations which pose a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens, including Spain and Italy, will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving in England, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has set out.


Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

The new measures will come into force from 10 July 2020, meaning that people arriving from selected destinations will be able to enter England without needing to self-isolate, unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.

A risk assessment has been conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer. The assessment draws on a range of factors including the prevalence of coronavirus, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory of the disease in that destination.

The list of countries will be published later today. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.

The entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watch word and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with.


International business travel has been given a boost with the news that the UK Government is to suspend the 14-day quarantine requirement for a series of countries, introducing instead “air-bridge” arrangements while the Foreign Office warning against all but essential international travel will be lifted for countries deemed safe.

The full list of countries is still to be confirmed. People will be allowed to travel to the named countries, without having to quarantine on return, from 6 July.

The list of “safe” countries is being finalised by the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre, working with Public Health England. Countries will be ranked as green, amber or red based on an assessment of risk from Covid-19.

Business travellers will be able to travel freely to both green and amber countries.

The decision to relax quarantine requirements follows pressure from Focus Travel Partnership members, the Business Travel Association as well as airlines and other industry stakeholders.

A 14-day quarantine will stay in place for anyone arriving in the UK from countries not rated green or amber, with passengers required to self-isolate at a declared address, potentially enforceable with a £1,000 fine.

Clive Wratten, Chief Executive of the Business Travel Association and Abby Penston, Chief Executive of the Focus Travel Partnership gave us their reactions to the latest information, and called for further clarity as soon as possible:

Etihad Airways launches digital Covid-19 risk assessment tool

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is partnering with Austrian-based healthcare technology company Medicus AI to launch a COVID-19 risk-assessment tool that will help passengers make informed decisions about travelling.

The Etihad Covid-19 self-assessment tool is accessible via the airline’s website

The risk-assessment tool will guide Etihad’s passengers in evaluating the probability of having contracted the Covid-19 coronavirus by responding to a set of 22 questions. The self-administered assessment, which takes less than five minutes to complete, is based on World Health Organization guidelines.

With this risk-assessment tool, passengers will understand their individual probability of having contracted the virus alongside advisories and recommendations, allowing them to make informed decisions about travelling.

Frank Meyer, Chief Digital Officer, Etihad Airways, said:

We know that health and wellbeing will be a major factor impacting the travel decisions of our guests and are committed to ensuring their continued safety and peace of mind when they choose to travel with Etihad Airways. As flying operations begin to resume globally, we want to empower our guests to make informed decisions on travel. Partnering with Medicus AI on this innovative new tool is just one of the ways we are adapting our operations and guest experience to meet the new demands placed on the travel industry as a result of Covid-19.

Dr. Baher Al Hakim, Chief Executive Officer, Medicus AI, said:

We are proud to support Etihad Airways in their efforts to ensure the safety of its passengers and crew as the world returns to normality. Our initial efforts at the start of the pandemic were to help provide assessment and monitoring tools, and as needs shift, our efforts have evolved to help our partners bring people back to their day-to-day life in a safe manner.

The tool is now available to guests on Etihad.com and is accessible in English, with additional language editions such as Arabic, French, German and Portuguese being added in phases.

Etihad Airways has been actively sourcing and investing in innovative solutions to enhance the safety and wellbeing of its employees and guests in light of the impact of Covid-19 and has also recently announced trials of Covid-19 triage and contactless technology at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Scott Pawley and Paul Baker interviewed

Scott Pawley and Paul Baker have appeared in the first episode of the Business Travel Interview.

Global Travel Management managing director Scott, and sales director Paul answered questions on a variety of business travel topics as customers plan how to start travelling on business again.

Scott Pawley announced a hygiene pack, containing face masks, gloves and sanitising products has been made available to GTM customers.

As more airlines ramp up their capacity in order to meet increasing demand, a number of GTM customers are working through the process of ensuring staff can travel as safely and efficiently as possible, but without unnecessary additional costs. So, Scott and Paul answered a number of questions on some of the key issues facing businesses trying to power the post-Covid economic recovery.

Scott and Paul looked back on some of the comparable events that have impacted the travel industry in the last few decades including 9-11, the economic crash, the volcanic ash cloud and more.

And they explained what lessons they have learned in order to help businesses get back in the air.

Paul Baker explained the effect mandatory social distancing may have on the costs of business travel in future.

They discussed some of the issues around social distancing and safety measure that are being mandated by airlines and airports around the world. And Scott described a travel hygiene pack, containing masks, gloves and sanitising products, available at a discount to GTM customers.

Scott also described the Covid-19 map which is now on the GTM website home page, showing the measures taken to protect citizens in countries around the world.

And Scott and Paul discussed how the costs of business travel may change in future, and gave tips to any businesses looking to start travelling again now, or soon.

If you would like to ask Scott, Paul – or anyone else in the GTM team – any questions in a future episode of the Business Travel Interview, please drop Scott an email: SP@GTM.UK.COM.

Lufthansa Group mandates use of face masks for passengers

Passengers on Lufthansa Group flights for the next four months will be required to wear face masks.

Mouth-nose covers will be a compulsory prerequisite throughout the entire journey on Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings flights until 31 August 2020.

Passengers are required to use face masks on Lufthansa Group flights until at lest the end of August 2020

In addition, Lufthansa Group is asking all passengers continue to wear masks at the airport, before and after the flight, wherever the required minimum distance cannot be guaranteed without restriction.

The group has also provided details of changes to in-flight procedures:

The current regulation of Lufthansa Group Airlines to keep the neighbouring seat free in Economy and Premium Economy Class will no longer apply, as wearing the mouth-nose cover provides adequate health protection.  Due to the current low occupancy rate, seats will nevertheless be allocated as widely as possible throughout the cabin. 

Passengers are required to wear masks throughout the flight as well as at the airport

All flight attendants on Lufthansa Group flights in direct contact with customers will also wear a corresponding mask.

Passengers are requested to bring their own mouth and nose cover. A reusable fabric mask is recommended, but all other types of coverings such as simple disposable masks or scarves are also possible. The airlines will inform their passengers in advance by SMS or e-mail and on their websites about the new regulation.

The airline group also gave information about the likelihood of transmission on its flights:

In principle, infection on board remains very unlikely. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, no concrete cases of transmission on Lufthansa Group flights have become known. All Lufthansa Group aircraft are equipped with the highest quality air filters, which guarantee air quality similar to that in an operating theatre. In addition, the air circulates vertically instead of being distributed throughout the cabin

The requirement comes in to force on Monday, 4 May 2020 and will “preliminarily apply” until 31 August 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause uncertainty to industries in the United Kingdom and beyond. The travel industry is not immune to the disruption caused. But at Global Travel Management we are committed to ensuring we provide a safe business travel management service and that our clients have access to up to date information and guidance.

What we are doing

We are monitoring the Covid-19 pandemic and how the travel industry is dealing with it very closely. Members of our management team are in regular dialogue with industry bodies and are working to ensure that travellers’ best interests are at the forefront of decision-making. We will be happy to answer any questions you have.

We have closed our office premises and transferred all travel management functions to employees working from home. You can still reach Global Travel Management by phone or email in the usual way.

Where you can get more information

We have a news page on our website that gathers some of the most important and breaking news on Covid-19 and its impact on the travel industry and business travellers. Covid-19 news page.

You can follow our Twitter account which contains business travel news as it breaks. GTM Covid-19 tweets. (Opens in new tab).

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a frequently-update page offering guidance for British people travelling overseas during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. FCO guidance for travel. (Opens in new tab).

The UK Government’s has published advice: “Covid-19: what you need to do”. (Opens in new tab).

The Association of British Travel Agents has produced “Advice on travelling”. (Opens in new tab).